On May 9, the Docudays UA International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival announced a national DOCU/Ukraine competition. Among the films in the program is a film by Mstyslav Chernov, which he shot during the first days of the siege of Mariupol. The festival will take place from June 2 to 8
The DOCU/Ukraine competition includes five films. 20 Days in Mariupol by Mstyslav Chernov tells about the russian attack on the city on February 24, 2022, the bombing of residential quarters and a maternity hospital, the people who lived and worked under the blockade of the city and how Chernov and his colleagues, photographer Yevhen Maloletka and journalist Vasylisa Stepanenko, managed to escape from the city surrounded by russian occupiers.
The film won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival, and the director, along with fellow journalists Yevhen Maloletka, Vasylisa Stepanenko and Lori Hinnant, were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. Read more about the film in our article.
The film King Lear: How We Looked for Love During the War follows the lives of displaced Ukrainians who find themselves in Uzhhorod. After February 24, 2022, director Dmytro Hreshko helps them stage a Shakespearean performance and explores their transformation from the idea for a theatrical production to its premiere in the regional center of Zakarpattia. This is not Hreshko’s first film about this region. His previous film, Mountains and Heaven in Between, was about an «ambulance crew» that goes to the remote village of Kolochava, Zakarpattia during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The events of Volodymyr Tykhyy’s film Ukrainian Independence take place during August 24, 2022 and show how a representative of a «beach» police patrol, a woman anti-tank missile operator, a water delivery driver, a mortar unit soldier, a rapid assault unit soldier, a 14-year-old pub janitor, an artist and a former member of parliament spent that day. Tykhyy’s previous film, One Day in Ukraine, also shows the events of one day. It was the first film made in independent Ukraine that was acquired by British television.
In Fragile Memory, a young filmmaker Igor accidentally finds the damaged photo archive of his grandfather, the famous Soviet and Ukrainian cinematographer Leonid Burlaka. Igor tries to find out who his grandfather was before Alzheimer’s disease takes away Leonid’s ability to recognize his grandson.
After its premiere in the «Panorama» section of the Berlinale, Roman Liubyi’s film Iron Butterflies will also be shown in the Docudays UA national competition. It is a multi-layered investigation into the downing of flight MH17 Malaysia Airlines on July 17, 2014 in the village of Hrabove in the Donetsk region. The butterfly-shaped piece of shrapnel found in the pilot’s body implicated the state responsible for a war crime that remains unpunished. Iron Butterflies is a hybrid film that combines archival footage of the tragedy and interviews with fictional elements as well as performances, music or installations that «emphasize the surreal circumstances of the case».
The 20th Anniversary Docudays UA will begin June 2, and among the programs already announced are the out-of-competition sections, special events, Civil Pitch 2.0, Editing Transition and DOCU/Youth. To find out what films will be shown at the festival, check the website.